Late last year we were surprised to learn that several hosting clients who also used our email services relied on our free webmail offerings as their primary means of using email. Whilst we do offer Roundcube and Squirrelmail, some of the most widely used webmail systems available, both are lacking a friendly user interface. To be honest they are functional but ugly and a pain to use on mobile devices.
So we set out to find a solution that was 100% Mobile and Tablet Responsive, Secure and a pleasure to use on a practical every day basis. We set out some of what we were looking for and managed to find something that met all our requirements, our list of nice-to-have features and a bunch of additional features we were prepared to forego if unavailable. Below we set out some of our expectations of a new platform and the process of selection for the new interface which is now available at https://messenger.agency.cm
- The basics: Plain text & HTML emails, attachments, read receipts & notifications, folders
- Beautiful – we cannot understate the importance of a clean, minimalist, functional interface
- Secure – we need to factor authentication supported as an absolute minimum
- Lightning Fast – we would test it with mailboxes containing 100’s of thousands of messages
- Works across all devices – we would test on tablets, touchpads, iPads, iPhones, Android & Windows Phones
- Fully Support HTML Email – we did not want our favourite newsletters broken or made ugly
Really nice to have:
- DropBox Integration
- Login to email with Google/Facebook
- Supports HTML Email Signatures for email footers
Bonus Points Awarded for:
- Time-savers: Support keyboard shortcuts (click ‘R’ to reply etc.)
- Productivity Enhancement: Manage Multiple Email Accounts
- Ease of use: Support sending/receiving of .zip files
- Compatibility: Import your contacts from other devices
- Inter-Operability: Fully integrated with DropBox and GoogleDocs
- Practicality: Retrieve Gmail, Outlook, Optus & Telstra Email
- Added Security: A simplified interface for sending PGP encrypted email
- Added Privacy: Tracking and Other Images proxied to evade spyware and tracking
After a significant amount of reviewing and investigating we believed we found some products worthy of intensive user testing. We hoped to find a solution would be proud to share with our users. We did not set our expectations too high. Narrowing down a selection of platforms we needed to test ourselves ‘in the wild’. To eliminate and select one and ensure it performed as expected. We were more than pleasantly surprised by the results.
What we did not expect to find in our testing was an email client that we would prefer to use over our current de-facto standard access method. For other email power users there are likely better options available. However our clients clearly had a need to meet for a simple to use webmail interface and as it happened this email power user prefers the interface for email access on the go. AgencyCM is drinking the Kool Aid and we now use this as our primary means of mobile email messaging.